Ralf Rangnick’s exciting playing style will undoubtedly energise the players and the Manchester United fanbase in the short-term, but Paul Ince is concerned about the club’s long-term strategy
“I’m not sure what the board are doing, I’m not sure what Ed Woodward is doing.”
Ralf Rangnick’s appointment has been met with optimism for the most part, but Paul Ince, speaking above, is still concerned about the way his former club is being run.
The German’s arrival has lifted the mood around Old Trafford, whether that be in the dressing room or out on the terraces.
But that has ultimately taken the spotlight off the issues behind the scenes that led to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking and the puzzling process of appointing his successor.
Mauricio Pochettino was the club’s first choice, but as that failed to materialise they turned to Rangnick as they appointed their second interim manager in quick succession.
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The plan is to presumably pursue the Paris Saint-Germain manager or another candidate in the summer.
There were claims Rangnick would take a two-year consultancy role at the end of the season, something which he has disputed, before the 63-year-old later put himself in the frame for the permanent position.
He said he could make a recommendation to the board to manage the side for an extra season if he feels it is necessary, something he did on two occasions at RB Leipzig.
Rangnick’s exciting playing style will undoubtedly energise the players and the fanbase in the short term, but Ince is worried about the club’s long-term strategy as confusion continues to linger behind the scenes under Ed Woodward and the Glazer’s.
Ince told Mirror Football: “Once again there is no transparency in what’s going on at Old Trafford.
“I’m not sure what the board are doing, I’m not sure what Ed Woodward is doing.
“They’ve gone sacking Solskajer to pursuing Pochettino, but that didn’t manifest itself.
“There’s an interim manager now until the end of the season. The question I would ask is ‘are they looking for someone else at the end of the season?’
“Rangnick comes out and says he could stay for 18 months, but he’s only meant to be there for six months.”
Ince reckons United needs a new central midfielder and a striker in January, but the confusion around who will be in charge in the summer means those plans could be thrown up in the air.
He added: “When you talk about going to the market and bringing players in, are you going to spend £30m or £40m on a midfielder?
“Rangnick leaves at the end of the season and the new manager comes in and says ‘I don’t want that player’.
“Because he is only there on a part-term basis, there is no transparency in who actually is in control.
“You have to be very careful because you don’t get the best players in January anyway.
“They do need to look at the midfield. Fred played very well against Crystal Palace but Man United players need to do it week in, week out.
“United needs one or two midfield players that can actually control the game.
“I’d also be looking at a centre-forward. Edinson Cavani is at a stage where he is picking up injuries all the time. You can’t keep playing Cristiano Ronaldo every game so maybe that department might be looked at.
“Rangnick might just feel he is happy with what he’s got and add one or two players. But if he can improve these players, which I’m sure that he can, it’s not a bad team. Varane is to come back Sancho is playing with a bit of confidence
“I think he’ll have an idea of who he wants to bring in, but I would just ask for some transparency, will he be there next year? There are so many things to sort out.”
Ince doesn’t envisage a mass exodus in the upcoming window either.
Donny van de Beek has been linked with an exit as he continues to be left out in the cold, a player that needs to be playing football one way or another, according to the former Man United midfielder.
Anthony Martial has also been surplus to requirements so far this term, while Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard are out of contract in the summer and destined to leave Old Trafford as free agents.
United could cash in on the pair in January to get something in return, but Ince doesn’t see either of them or Martial leaving the club before the end of the season.
He said: “Donny van de Beek needs to go out and play football. I honestly believe that. Ole sold him a dream that dream didn’t materialise.
“Coming on for the last five or ten minutes is no good for a player of that quality.
“Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial won’t be going anywhere until the end of the season, there is not a lot of money they can bring in in terms of players exiting.”
In regards to who Manchester United should give the permanent post to, Ince insists the Red Devils need to “learn the lessons” from Solskajer’s tenure.
He hopes United doesn’t rush into a hasty decision with Rangnick, exploring all other options, no matter how he performs from now until the summer.
He added: “What United can’t do is put themselves in the same situation as they did with Solskjaer where they gave him a set amount of games as interim manager and then after that everyone was clamouring for him to be given the job full time.
“I was like ‘hang on let’s wait until the end of the season then sit down and look at other managers and see where Solskjaer is at.
“They didn’t, they gave him a three-year contract and three years down the line, United are where they are now.
“Hopefully that’s a lesson to the board. It could have gone completely different, but you are talking about someone who was manager of Cardiff, Molde and then managing the biggest club in the world. There is a lack of experience there and Solskjaer would admit that himself.
“Rangnick has got the experience but it’s still Manchester United. If they got a chance of getting a world-class manager at the end of the season then they have to look at that seriously.
“Rangnick is 63. There are talks about a consultancy role, but he seems to think he isn’t aware of that, another confusion coming out at United.
“Let’s see where they are at the end of the season. It would be hard to give him the job if they win the Champions League and finish fourth, but there is still an opportunity to get one of the best managers in the world on a long-term plan, I think they have to seriously look at that.”